I know that I said I would never abandon my cider brined chicken but after watching Alton Brown brine a duck in orange pineapple juice on Food Network the other day I had to try it out! Since I didn't cut my chicken up I needed to use about 2x the brine however it was a very easy recipe to double. I also added a few other aromatics to the mix (bay leaves & rosemary... I didn't have and fresh thyme).
Brining really is so easy and if you have 2 gallon zip top bags it doesn't really add any extra mess to your kitchen. With a cold brine like this (ie stir salt into cold liquid so you don't have to heat and then cool the brine) it only takes a few extra moments of work and a little foresight (at least 3 hrs but overnight is better I think!) The chicken was removed and rinsed of the brine, patted dry, stuffed with a quartered orange & 4 cloves of garlic, trussed the chicken and then rubbed with butter and rosemary and then roasted at 400 F for 1 hr 30 min or so until inside reaches temp (recommended is 165F however I usually end around 150F and haven't gotten sick yet!) We ate this as is without any gravy as it was so moist but feel free to use the pan drippings to make a gravy as well. And if you like the skin...then just wow wait until you try this!
Pineapple Orange Rosemary Brine
2 c pineapple orange juice
2 c water
1/2 c kosher salt
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
2 tbsp dried rosemary (or fresh if you have it)
4 garlic cloves - smashed
1) in a 2 gal zip top bag placed inside a large bowl add all the ingredients and stir until salt is dissolved
2) clean out chicken (discard gibblets etc) and wash out - add to bag with brine
3) remove any air from the bag and rotate so chicken is submerged
4) place in fridge for 3-12 hrs